Duck Village Outfitters gives customers the means to master both sand and surf with rentals from three locations in the Outer Banks. Its sporty offerings include 12 styles of surfboards for men and women, from short and soft 4-foot boards to 9-foot longboards, as well as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The shop can also loan out wetsuits and brightly colored life-jackets to help clients brave the cold surf or turn heads at a black-tie dinner. Alternatively, single-speed and geared rental bikes for both men and women enable speedy exploration of dry land.
Family-owned and operated since 1975, Whalebone Urban Surf Shop pays homage to sand and sun with swimsuits, sandals, and casual daywear from brands such as Billabong, Roxy, RCVA, Hurley, and Volcom. Glittering waves wet Quiksilver board shorts ($59.50) or L Space and Leilani mix-and-match bikinis, available in a rainbow of colors. In addition to beachwear, Whalebone Urban Surf buttons up Quiksilver Girl captain flannel tops ($49.50) that can be paired with Element Magic Sleeve jeans ($69.50). The summery white of O’Neill's frock ($39.50) complements Reef sandals such as the women's Ugandal 2 with thongs decorated in Ugandan paper beads ($42) to fit days that span from shore to sea-turtle-centennial celebration.
Helmed by kiteboarding pioneers Trip Forman and Matt Nuzzo and lauded by Men’s Journal as one of the best sports camps in America, Real Watersports' guides train and outfit extreme water recreationists of all skill levels. Wrangle waves during two-hour lessons in surfing, standup paddleboarding, or kiteboarding, a chimerical extreme water sport that combines a small board with a large, controllable kite to propel riders over the waves and into the air. No matter which method of propulsion you use, Real’s expert guides will teach you how to ride, chop through, or fly over the waves in private terrain set aside for Real by an exclusive permit from the National Parks Service, freeing athletes from the glare of beachcombers or the cat calls of foul-mouthed pelicans.
Glassy waters serve as a tranquil training ground for first-time paddlers, who develop graceful strokes and effective directional paddling during lessons before charting their own marine pathways through the Outer Banks. Lessons start with an overview of terminology and paddleboard anatomy. After successfully locating the epoxy heart and carbon fiber arteries of the board, students take to the beach for practice and an overview of safety protocols, such as what to do if your arm grazes a patch of icky seaweed. Once the 1.5-hour lesson has ended and students feel confident in their abilities, they may paddle their epoxy flotillas through aquatic pastures lined with lush trees for two additional hours. As the shop is located on a calm bay, paddlers need not fret about circumnavigating the ocean’s frothy swells or encountering joust-happy swordfish.
Smoke fills the space ship, signaling the beginning of an epic battle. Suddenly, laser beams cut through the fog as teams of sharpshooters race down ramps, duck beneath colorful crossfire, and take aim at their own friends. This is the type of scene set by the multilevel arena at Gearworks Laser Tag & Fun Center, where up to 60 players at once can participate in thrilling laser-tag matches. Nexus Generation system vests send realtime stats to plasma screens scattered outside the arena, so spectators can keep track of top performers. Between laser tag bouts, visitors can keep the competition alive with air hockey or escape to the arcade to play racing games. The nearby inflatable room contains two bounce houses where little ones can get some hang time.